Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

9 March 2020, Monday

Ministries tasked to work towards exiting the FATF “grey-list”

Pakistan among Top 20 affected by COVID-China slowdown; Seventh COVID-19 case reported in Pakistan

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In brief

Ministries tasked to work towards exiting the FATF “grey-list”

Lakshmi V Menon

On 9 March 2020, the Express Tribune reported federal government’s decision to grant time until March 15 to corresponding ministries to complete their “proposals” for dropping Pakistan from the “grey-list” of the global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The officials are to make legal amendments regarding terror financing and tackling money-laundering to Pakistan’s Constitution. The reviewed proposals will be sent to the National Assembly by March 30 for authorization. 

Finance Adviser Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said that “Prime Minister Imran Khan has shown his government’s political commitment on AML/CFT measures, especially on implementation of FATF action plan”, during the 15th National Economic Council meet. The meeting concluded that the Constitution would undergo necessary amendments to fulfil the remaining 16 FATF requirements. 

At the meeting, the Director General Military Operation said that significant work is required to fulfil recommendations by FATF’s Asia Pacific Group. He added the need for a persistent, determined and prioritized effort for exiting the grey-list, while also stressing the need for timely collective action and political ownership. He mentioned that time-constraints could prove challenging as amendments to the legislation would have to be made before the upcoming budget presentation in June. As after June the Parliament would only meet in September; leaving insufficient time before the October 2020 deadline. He suggested that bills be presented before parliament by end of March. 

Previously, in June 2018, FATF grey-listed Pakistan. The FATF Plenary (16-21 February 2020) had decided that Pakistan would continue in the grey-list for four more months until June 2020, by which period Pakistan had to fulfil the directive including 27 points or face being black-listed. Pakistan was given time until October 2020 to complete the conditions.


In brief

Pakistan among Top 20 affected by COVID-China slowdown

Lakshmi V Menon

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) listed Pakistan among the top 20 global economies to be the most affected by China’s slowdown owing to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The European Union ($15.6 billion) followed by the United States ($5.8bn), Taiwan, United Kingdom, Japan ($5.2bn), South Korea ($3.8bn), Taiwan ($2.6bn), Vietnam ($2.3bn), Mexico, Switzerland, Malaysia and Thailand are the most affected countries/regions. (Dawn, 9 March 2020). 

Coronavirus that has caused China’s slowdown in manufacturing is disrupting global trade. As per UNCTAD’s estimates, the slowdown could reduce exports by $50 billion across global value chains. Precision instruments, automotive, machinery and communication equipment have been most affected. Although the effect of COVID-19 on China’s productivity is uncertain, projections indicate a substantial dip. 

China’s manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) dropped to the lowest since 2004 – 37.5 in February (losing 22 points). This corresponds to a two per cent drop in annual exports. As China is the key production hub of various global businesses, the ripples of the slowdown will be felt world-over. Dependency on Chinese manufacturing will positively correlate with impact on economy. Other factors include China’s containment measures and geographic localization of the virus. 

Pakistan’s textile and apparel industry has been the most affected amounting to “$44million from a two per cent drop in China exports in intermediate inputs”. For Pakistan, the economy is highly intertwined with China. The slowdown in supply of intermediate inputs will significantly impact Pakistan in the coming months. China Pakistan Economic Corridor will also reflect the impact.


In brief

Seventh COVID-19 case reported in Pakistan

Lakshmi V Menon 

The seventh case of coronavirus has been reported in the Sindh province of Pakistan by the National Institute of Health (NIH) during the meeting of Task Force on Coronavirus chaired by Sindh CM Syed Murad Ali Shah. NIH expressed content in being able to avoid a major coronavirus outbreak in the past 16 days since closure of the Iran-Pak border. Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, Health Secretary Zahid Abbasi, Inspector General of police Mushtaq Mahar, Dr Faizal of Aga Khan, Minister of health Dr Azra Pechuho, Minister of local government Nasir Shah, Provincial Disaster Management Authority director general Salman Shah, officials from Corps 5, WHO, Rangers, and Civil Aviation Authority attended the meeting.

Details regarding the 300 pilgrims from Iran travelling to Sukkur, who would be screened for the virus and quarantined if tested positive were shared. Commissioner said Sukkur had a capacity to hold 1,024 persons in quarantine with well-adept facilities. The Chief Minister approved Rs 30million for the Sukkur quarantine facility and called for the establishment of a control room with representatives of buildings, revenue, public health, municipal corporation, health departments and Sepco.

Meanwhile, Assistant Commissioner of Dalbandin Ayesha Zehri celebrated International Women’s Day on 8 March with female pilgrims quarantined at Taftan crossing along the Pak-Iran border. The pilgrims were returning from Iran. She is incharge of supervising accommodation and other arrangements for pilgrims at the Taftan quarantine facility. Ms Zehri said she spent the day “listening to and resolving the issues of the women pilgrims regarding accommodation facilities, particularly protection of their privacy”.

The COVID-19 outbreak first reported on 31 December 2019 in Wuhan, China, has spread to 105 countries with 107,936 confirmed cases and 3,665 deaths. As of 9 March, in Pakistan 265 persons are under quarantine, seven have tested positive for COVID-19 and one person has recovered.

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